Android malware masquerades as Nintendo game emulator

Gunpoder contains several malicious functions and steals data

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

A new family of Android malware adds insult to injury by making users pay for the data-stealing application.

Palo Alto Networks found three variants of the malware, which it calls Gunpoder, masquerading as emulator applications used to play Nintendo games.

Antivirus engines are having trouble detecting Gunpoder's malicious code since it is packaged with an adware library called Airpush, wrote Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu of Palo Alto's Unit 42 research group.

"The malware samples successfully use these advertisement libraries to hide malicious behaviors from detection by antivirus engines," they wrote. "While antivirus engines may flag Gunpoder as being adware, by not flagging it as being overtly malicious, most engines will not prevent Gunpoder from executing."

Gunpoder apps can do a variety of invasive actions, including collecting bookmarks and browser histories, sending itself to other people over SMS, showing fraudulent advertisements and executing other code.

And users get to pay for that data-stealing capability. When a Gunpoder app is launched, it asks users to buy a lifelong license for the emulator for US$0.20 or $0.49, payable through PayPal or Skrill.

So far, Gunpoder appears to be targeting people in Iraq, Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, France, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the U.S. and Spain, Palo Alto said.

Curiously, the malware is programmed to not send itself by SMS to other numbers in a phone's contact list if the user is in China.

Its coders have also co-opted the Airpush advertising library with a fraudulent ad.

"The fraudulent advertisement page attempts to mimic a Facebook page," Palo Alto wrote. "It requests that victims finish a number of surveys and asks them to install various applications in order to receive a gift."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags palo alto networkssecuritymobilemalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?